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Home » News » Business » Global Competitiveness: Botswana inch up

Global Competitiveness: Botswana inch up

Publishing Date : 03 October, 2017

Author : REARABILWE RAMAPHANE

Botswana still has a lot of catching up ton when it comes to global competitiveness, this is despite moving one notch up in the latest Global Competitiveness Report – 2017-2018.


According to the 2017-2018 Global Competitiveness Index’ released by the World Economic Forum (WEF), Botswana ranks number 63 out of 137 countries with a score of 4.30. This is a slight improvement from the previous ranking of 64th, further reflecting the upward trend since 2012 when Botswana was ranked 80th in the world.


The Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) tracks the performance of close to 140 countries on 12 pillars of competitiveness. It assesses the factors and institutions identified by empirical and theoretical research as determining improvements in productivity, which in turn is the main determinant of long-term growth and an essential factor in economic growth and prosperity.


The WEF defines it as “the set of institutions, policies and factors that determine the level of productivity of a country”. Others are subtly different but all generally use the word “productivity”. Mauritius remains Africa’s most competitive economy, followed by Rwanda ranked 58th globally with a score of 4.35, South Africa is ranked 61st globally with a score of 4.32. Botswana has done better than the likes of Morocco which is ranked 71st globally with a score of 4.24. On the global scale, Switzerland, United States, Singapore, Netherlands and Germany completed the top 5 economies with scores of 5.86, 5.85, 5.71, 5.66 and 5.65 respectively.


Botswana as a middle income state intends to improve its economic environment to improve Foreign Direct Investment, the ease of doing business, innovative culture in a quest to industrialize the economy, diversify national revenue and create much needed employment, among other things. Stakeholders observe that government still has a major role to play in making sure that Botswana is an attractive place for investment, economic growth and business development. According to Specially Elected Member of Parliament, Bogolo Kenewendo, government has a significant and direct role in ensuring that jobs are created.


Kwenewendo, who is a renowned economist, a trade & investment specialist has observed in previous interviews that government lacked a clear strategic path facilitation of jobs creation. “We cannot continue saying the government is not responsible for creating jobs, while we know the government does not have a clear framework on how we are going to create a conducive environment for somebody else to do so,” she said.


 “We need to devise and craft clear strategies with timeframes on how we want to combat this issue of unemployment which affects most of our youth and continues to be on the rise. People want to hear job creation; we need to have clearer business reforms that can position Botswana among the top investments and business environments in the continents and the world,” she said. Kwenewendo, a former Ghanaian government trade & investment advisor says the Botswana government has a huge task of evaluating its immigration laws, trade regulations and its investment wooing approach.


The former Ecosult Economist appealed to the government to fast track moving into the techno-based economic strategies adding that globally there is a transition to move from physical human resource to information technology, digital and machinery personnel. “If we don’t tap into global changes we will be left behind and that will make it difficult for us to do business or trade with other countries, or even export labor,” she said. Renowned Economic and Finance Specialist at First National Bank Botswana (FNBB) Moathudi Sebabole observes that Botswana‘s Foreign Direct Investment is still untapped.


Sebabole compared Botswana to countries such as Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo whom according to him are doing well when it comes to attracting foreign investors to set up business and create employment for natives. “If you look at our FDI figures, they are very low compared to countries I have mentioned, that raises a concern that there might be something we not doing right,” he said.


He further explained that compared to those countries Botswana has better political stability with no civil unrest. “It suggests that there was somewhere we failing as far as attracting investors to Botswana is concerned.” Emphasizing on Sebabole‘s views another youthful business person, Health Education guru, Dr Tiro Mampane of Boitekanelo Group of Companies which includes Boitekanelo College told this publication that Botswana needed to look deeper and introspect its trade and business laws. He indicated that the ease of doing business locally needed to be improved by eliminating cumbersome procedures which might end up discouraging investors.


According to Dr Mampane, Small Medium Enterprises need to be empowered to create wealth and economic survival for the rural and low income people. “If you look into other businesses you will realize that they don’t necessarily require, for example, a physical office to operate, thus they should be exempted from some trade licenses requirement,” he said. The Global Competitiveness Report 2017–2018 comes out at a time when the global economy has started to show signs of recovery and yet policymakers and business leaders are concerned about the prospects for future economic growth.


Governments, businesses, and individuals are experiencing high levels of uncertainty as technology and geopolitical forces reshape the economic and political order that has underpinned international relations and economic policy for the past 25 years. At the same time, the perception that current economic approaches do not serve people and societies well enough is gaining ground, prompting calls for new models of human-centric economic progress.


The Report states that in many advanced economies the value of economic growth for society has come into question as a result of increasing inequality, the challenges of technological change, and the complex impacts of globalization—including those related to trade in goods, services, and data, and to the movement of people and capital. In emerging economies, record decreases in poverty and a growing middle class have fueled higher aspirations and demands for better public goods; these demands are now clashing with slower growth and tightening government budgets.

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